The University of South Carolina Marching Band OUTBACK BOWL | JANUARY 1, 2018 | TAMPA, FLORIDA

I love getting the chance to shoot something different, something new. How about a Marching Band? Heck, yeah!

In early December I was in Charlotte doing my Lightroom Seminar, and the night before I got a rare treat – dinner with a dear friend, Tayloe Harding. He was the keyboard player from my first real "rock band" back in High School, and someone whom I've always looked up to, and learned a lot from over the years.

Tayloe (who is a music composer), as it turns out is also music administrator and Dean of the School of Music at the University of South Carolina. When he told me they were coming to town for the Outback Bowl (versus Michigan), I told him how for years now I've been assigned to shoot the Outback Bowl, but this year I had stepped away from shooting football because of my travel schedule. Then he said something along the lines of, "Hey, wanna come shoot the band?" I was like, "Yes, Yes I do!" I Haven't done it before, but I'd sure like to try. Next thing you know I'm picking up a photo credential and setting up my gear in the photo work room, just like old times.

Raymond James Stadium, Tampa, Florida

Oh, yeah…there was a football game, too! (and South Carolina won!)

Well, you knew I was going to have to shoot some football while the band was on break, right? Here's a few of my favorites (though I was really rusty, having only shot one other game, back at the beginning of the season). By the time I was just starting to get into the groove, the game was over. I only got to shoot a about 2-1/2 quarters, but still had a blast.

That's how it went for Michigan - they were up 19-3 late in the game, but the Gamecocks came back and trounced them!

And we’re back to the band…

My Hero of the Game Award Goes To…

Professor Gordon Humphries, seen below left in the tan jacket. He teaches journalism at the University, and he brought one of his star students, Keylan Hanna (seen in the blue jacket below) to the game, and he set him up with some loaner lenses from his department. This was his way to give a student an opportunity for some real world experience shooting action sports (at a bowl game no less) to help fulfill one of his course requirements for his 2nd year photography students. How cool is that?! What an awesome thing to do (and he was an awesome guy all around — not just a great teacher). Despite the unseasonably cold weather for Tampa, Keylan seemed to really enjoy the experience. Good on 'em both. (Note: photo below taken on an iPhone).

L to R: Professor Gordon Humphries, me, and USC Photography student Keylan Hanna

Camera Info

All the shots above (with the exception of the iPhone shot noted above) were taken with a Canon EOS 1Dx, or a Canon EOS 5D Mark IV. I used a 400mm f/2.8, a 70-200mm f/2.8, a 14mm and a 15mm fisheye. I shot in Aperture Priority mode, wide open the whole time, using Auto ISO with my minimum shutter speed set to 1/1000 for most of the images. I shot to two Lexar 1000X 64GB memory cards.

Thanks for letting me share these images of my first time shooting a marching band. Special thanks to my dear friend Tayloe; Cormac Cannon (USC's associate director of bands), and all the members of the "Mighty Sound of the Southeast" who were so friendly, welcoming, and patient as I roamed through the band as they played. I had such a great time. Hope I get the chance to do it again.

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